By Jock Elliott, KB2GOM
Okay, I realize this is ham related, but I thought it was fun, and I hope you do too.
On a quiet Saturday morning in May, the “Big Gun” Motorola 1250 (which is used for running the Commuter Assistance Net) is quietly scanning through half a dozen frequencies.
The scanning stops on the 147.330 repeater, and a computer voice announces: “Echolink activated.”
Huh, that’s unusual, I think.
According to echolink.org, here’s the scoop on EchoLink:
EchoLink® software allows licensed Amateur Radio stations to communicate with one another over the Internet, using streaming-audio technology. The program allows worldwide connections to be made between stations, or from computer to station, greatly enhancing Amateur Radio’s communications capabilities. There are more than 350,000 validated users worldwide — in 159 of the world’s 193 nations — with about 6,000 online at any given time.
A few seconds later, a male voice with a distinct British accent drops a call on the repeater: “GB2022ER.”
What?!! A Great Britain call sign with multiple numbers in the middle? What’s going on?
I reply: KB2GOM.
Mark, the British ham, tells me he is running a special events station with a special call sign to celebrate the Queen’s Jubilee. He tells me I am the very first contact for the special events station. I tell him that he is my very first Echolink contact.
We chat for a bit, exchange good wishes and sign off.
A bit later, I look him up on QRZ and send Mark an email. Since I am his first contact for the special events station, is there a QSL card available? He replies that he will see what he can do.
A few weeks later, an envelope arrives with this coaster inside:
For a moment, I felt like James Bond:
Bottom line – moral of the story, if you will – you never know what’s going to happen on the radio.